Honoring exceptional leadership in the experimental arts community
NOKIA Bell Labs
Experiments in Art and Technology
Tom van den Bout
Council Member Stephen Levin
Featuring Presentations by:
David Tudor (1926 - 1996) / Sophia Ogielska
Lee Ranaldo / Stephan Moore / Leila Bordreuil
Lucinda Childs, Charles Atlas, LoVid
David Lang and Special Guests
A highlight of ISSUE Project Room’s Fall 2016 programs, After 9 Evenings celebrates the 50th Anniversary celebration of Experiments in Art & Technology, a historical collaboration between avant-garde artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, Lucinda Childs and David Tudor and engineers from Bell Labs. ISSUE’s After 9 Evenings programs culminate in the LAB GALA on Wednesday October 19, 2016 marking the anniversary of the events that took place during October 1966.
We cordially invite you to attend the LAB GALA in support of ISSUE Project Room.
ISSUE’s annual benefit recognizes arts leaders and organizations that have made an impact through their advocacy and commitment to the experimental arts community. The evening includes a tribute to the honorees, a cocktail reception, multi-disciplinary performances, installations and presentations plus a three-course seated dinner.
Limited tickets remain. For more information, contact: Patrick Grenier, Development Director at (718) 330-0313 x5 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To purchase a ticket or to make a contribution in support of ISSUE’s Gala please visit: issueprojectroom.org/donate
Stephen Levin is a member of the New York City Council for the 33rd District in the New York City Council, which includes the diverse communities of Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, and Bedford–Stuyvesant among others. Levin serves on the Cultural Affairs Committee and has been an important advocate for the revitalization of downtown Brooklyn, which has become a vibrant cultural destination that includes ISSUE Project Room. Over the past five years, the Councilman has been a critical supporter of ISSUE and has championed the organization’s City-funded capital project to carry out necessary renovations to our historic theater.
Experiments in Art and Technology grew out of the collaborations initiated by ten New York artists, composers and choreographers with more than thirty engineers and scientists from Bell Laboratories, to create performances that incorporated new technology. These performances were presented in the series 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering in October 1966 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. During these collaborations two artists, Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman, and two Bell Labs engineers, Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer, decided to form E.A.T as a non-profit organization to make artist-engineer collaborations available to more artists who wanted to work with technology, with the belief that such collaboration would benefit not only artists, but also the society as a whole. Through the years E.A.T. has been a leading advocate for art and technology in the arts and technical communities. Julie Martin worked on the 9 Evenings and joined the staff of E.A.T. in 1967, working closely with Billy Klüver on projects the organization initiated, ranging from the first international art and technology exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum to the Pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan, and the Projects Outside Art that expanded the range of artist-engineer collaborations launched in the 1970s.
NOKIA-Bell Labs is often referred to as the Idea Factory and the company is a recognized leader in research in the field of information technology and communications. The continuous and remarkable record of accomplishments by Bell Laboratories across so many different domains is among the reasons why it is regarded as the canonical industrial research organization. The culture and research model that took shape during its formative years remains at the very core of Bell Labs to this day. Bell Labs ongoing commitment to the spirit of experimentation, starting with the collaboration between their engineers and avant-garde artists on 9 Evenings in 1966, has distinguished the Company as a corporate leader dedicated to fostering innovation in the arts and sciences.
Tom van den Bout is the former Board Chair of ISSUE Project Room. He is deeply committed to the Brooklyn community where he has lived for over 25 years. Tom has served as President of the Brooklyn Heights Association, as a member of Brooklyn Community Board 2 (chairing its Landmark Committee), as a board member of the Dodge YMCA, and the Prospect Park Audubon Center. Tom van den Bout co-founded NV/design.architecture with his wife, Brenda Nelson, after working in a series of internationally recognized architectural firms. NV/da has established itself as an award-winning firm characterized by a rigorous combination of preservation and contemporary design. Tom has proven himself a committed and effective leader, guiding lasting change and promoting the dynamic cultural ecology of Downtown Brooklyn.
Performances & Installations
Charles Atlas: What Does Unstable Time Even Mean?
Charles Atlas debuts a new dance-based work as a preview of a major work currently in development. Choreographed by duo Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, featuring dancers Cori Kresge and Hiroki Ichinose, the film is produced as an accompaniment to a long-form stereoscopic moving image work. What Does Unstable Time Even Mean? was filmed at Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) during Atlas’ 2015-2016 residency and this excerpt premiered as part of Frieze Projects, curated in 2015 by Nicola Lees. Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener are artists who work both collaboratively and separately on varied performance projects including site-specific installations, improvisational dances, traditional proscenium pieces, and highly crafted immersive experiences. After working together in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mitchell and Riener began collaborating on dance projects in 2009. Continually pushing the boundaries of dance research, they have a keen interest in the way abstraction and representation coincide in the body. They are both drawn to space as an agent of perfomance and create dance in response to complex and active spatial environments, often using elements of fantasy to encourage innovation and affect environments. Their work is simultaneously playful, rigorous and diverse in its use of movement language, sonic forms and visual materials. It often includes visual art, literary and musical collaborators. Together they have amassed awards including multiple NY Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies), a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Princess Grace Awards. They are active in their community as educators, performers and agents of change.
MSHR: Ornamental Light Sensors from Knotted Gate Chant Cycle
The table centerpieces are sculptural light sensors created by the art collective MSHR, made of digitally fabricated acrylic with embedded analog electronics. E.A.T.’s radical crossing of art and technology in 9 Evenings has been an ongoing creative touchstone in MSHR’s practice. MSHR’s work with analog circuitry is especially influenced by the pioneering work of David Tudor. His use of cybernetic systems, circuits as musical compositions, home spun electronics, bare bones sonic aesthetic and original circuit designs have been a vast source of research and inspiration for the collective. These ornamental centerpieces were originally components plugged into a generative electronic system constructed for an installation at Harvestworks, titled Knotted Gate Chant Cycle. In the piece, the parameters of light were controlled by sound and the parameters of sound were controlled by light. These sculptural light sensors served as an intermediary between those elements. The light-audio feedback system was arranged in a sculptural expanse throughout the room, generating undulating patterns of light and sound.
David Tudor (1926-1992) & Sophia Ogielska: Toneburst Maps and Fragments 1995-96
Describing the process of David Tudor’s composition and the method of performing it had been a concern of his for a long time. Tudor spoke cryptically about about his electronic set-ups, and rarely explained how his compositions had been created. In 1995-96 David Tudor collaborated with Sophia Ogielska on a visual language for representing David’s music compositions created in analog circuits, focusing on Tudor’s composition Toneburst, written for Merce Cunningham’s Sounddance (1975). The collaborative works merge Tudor’s method of creating music from electronic components with Ogielska’s technique of composing paintings from visual fragments. To engage and expose multiple dimensions, energy, and spirit of the process of composing and performing Tudor’s music they chose new techniques - translucent paints and electronically cut film on multiple layers of clear acrylic panels, and exploited computer technologies for processing and assembling complex images. This project, received extensive assistance from technical collaborator, Dr. Andy T. Ogielski, who wrote an interactive computer program, which was used in shaping the images of circuits expressed in the works, and helped with the use of new materials and computer controlled film cutting technologies. Using computer techniques for producing complex images, the panels reveal the energy, freedom and mystery of Tudor’s music. Their work achieved its force and clarity by restricting the visual space to the language of Tudor’s compositions, the electronic circuits, and by finding new techniques for showing the energy and dynamics of his performances as free traversals of circuit shapes, switching their brilliant translucent colors and casting color shadows from one plane to another, and to surrounding space. Toneburst Maps and Fragments was first exhibited at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University in 1996. The installation of Toneburst Maps and Fragments has been coordinated in collaboration with Harvestworks with thanks to Andy and Sophia Ogielski.
Lee Ranaldo / Stephan Moore / Leila Bordreuil: Inspired by Untitled 1975/1994
Toneburst is a composition that David Tudor created for Merce Cunningham’s Sounddance, a piece that was a mainstay of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) repertory and was often used to close concerts. The dance and the music are connected by their intensity and relentlessness. Performances of Toneburst were made by Tudor performing solo, with a particular configuration of his analog electronic tone generators and processors, making use of feedback and signal splitting to create an unstable, unpredictable multi-voiced mass of noise. Tudor left no score and scant notes, diagrams, instructions for the performance of the work. In 1994, Tudor, realizing that MCDC would want to continue to perform Sounddance past his lifetime, created a version of Toneburst called Untitled 1975/1994, consisting of three Toneburst performances stacked one on top of the other and distributed spatially in the performance hall. The “performer” manipulates the level of the playback of these recordings to create a seething assault of unpredictable sounds. A general style and approach for dealing with these recordings was established by Takehisa Kosugi, Tudor’s successor as the Music Director of MCDC. Stephan Moore, while working with MCDC learned Kosugi’s method, going on to perform the piece with the Company on numerous occasions from 2004 - 2010, concurrent with his time of initial collaboration with ISSUE. Stephan Moore presents a piece inspired by Untitled 1975/1994, accompanied by legendary guitarist Lee Ranaldo and current ISSUE Artist-In-Residence Leila Bordreuil.
LoVid:ReactionWare, Wedding Cake, Ruby Rendering
LoVid presents two short performances from their work with video, sound, and wearable technology. ReactionWear is a study of the relationships between physical and virtual space, architecture, and the body. In this work, the dancer interacts with a digital system based on the directions of her movements including angles, distance, and height. These gestures create a live and immersive audiovisual composition that highlights the space itself as an integral part of the electronic instrument. Wedding Cake is an analog and sculptural synthesizer. In addition to producing live compositions, the instrument is also a sculptural wearable object. LoVid’s performance visualizes a tactile relationship between body and technology where technology takes a more organic form. The performance also reflects on issues of control between the performer/engineer and instrument. LoVid designed Wedding Cake as a challenge to conventional tool-making rules; while being “played”, the instrument’s setup affects the couple’s performative gestures as well as the content they produce. Ruby Rendering (2015), a multichannel installation of luscious colorful A/V collages, celebrates the tactility and materiality of technology. The audiovisuals were created during LoVid’s residency at Signal Culture (Owego NY) using the artists’ signature abstractions that weave together noise, dense colors, flicker, patterns, and electrical hums. The piece was installed during the duration of ISSUE’s presentation of After 9 Evenings.
Lucinda Childs:9 Evenings Reflections
For 9 Evenings, 10 New York artists, including Lucinda Childs worked for 10 months in collaboration with 30 engineers and scientists from Bell Labs, to develop technical equipment for their performances. On October 16, 1966 Lucinda Childs presented "Vehicle." In Vehicle, Childs drew a parallel between situations that revealed the qualities and limits of each non-static stage element (sets, props, dancers). She accomplished this by having a sonar device cut in unevenly on all of the movements, without distinguishing between objects and performers, one of whom (Robert Rauschenberg) integrated within this technological system, moving about in a “Ground Effect Machine” raised several inches above the floor. “I intend to utilize these devices in a set of circumstances as instruments which may or may not be efficient to the notion of of completing anything. I do not feel that dance should be limited to the display of physical exertion alone; anything that can exist in a non-static state for a certain duration of time is of interest to me. My ideas are generally derived from the laws which govern the materials themselves and I attempt to allow the qualities and limitations of materials to be exposed to different situations.” - from 9 Evenings Theater and Engineering Program. Childs reduced her choreographic score to simple, repetitive actions including swinging three red firefighter’s buckets, which she had hung from scaffolding, in front of a 70 kHz Doppler sonar system specially designed by Bell Labs engineers for the occasion. As Childs swung the buckets around within the ultrasonic beams, the frequency of the sounds transmitted fell into the audible range and were transmitted to twelve speakers around the building. The data were processed in order to generate the desired weave of sounds and to adjust the light sources.
John Cage:Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (March No. 2) Conducted by David Lang, Performed with Special Guests
Composed in 1951 and premiered in New York on May 10, 1951, John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (March No. 2) was written for a large ensemble of twelve radios (twenty-four players and conductor). 2 performers are stationed at each radio, one dialing the radio-stations, the other controlling amplitude and timbre. The score provides indications for tuning (controlled by player 1), as well as for volume and tone color (controlled by the player 2). When listening to this work, one can’t predict what will be heard, which is exactly what Cage had in mind. In addition, the composition also functioned as a kind of exercise in abandoning preferences - Cage wasn’t very fond of radios. As he put it in For the Birds: “I had a goal, that of erasing all will and the very idea of success.” His method of composing here is basically the same as used in Music of Changes. Cage employed the I Ching to create charts, which were used to refer to superimpositions, tempi, durations, sounds, and dynamics. In these sound charts, 32 out of 64 fields are silences. In the charts for dynamics, only 16 produce changes, while the others maintain the previous situation. Similar charts were produced and employed for the other parameters. Cage gives an extensive description of his composing means for this work in his “To Describe the Process of Composition Used in Music of Changes and Imaginary Landscape No. 4” (Silence, pp. 57-60). ISSUE would like to thank The John Cage Trust and Laura Kuhn for supporting the 2016 LAB Gala and their commitment to the preservation and dissemination of the late American composer’s work.
Charles Atlas was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1958. Atlas is a filmmaker and video artist who has created numerous works for stage, screen, museum, and television. Atlas is a pioneer in the development of media-dance, a genre in which original performance work is created directly for the camera. Atlas worked as filmmaker-in-residence with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for ten years. Many of Atlas’s works have been collaborations with choreographers, dancers, and performers, including Yvonne Rainer, Michael Clark, Douglas Dunn, Marina Abramovic, Diamanda Galas, John Kelly, and Leigh Bowery. "Television Dance Atlas"—the artist’s critically acclaimed prime-time event on Dutch television—was a four-hour montage of original and found footage incorporating dance styles as varied as ballet, burlesque, and figure skating. Atlas also creates video installation works. "The Hanged One"—a work inspired by symbolism from the Tarot and foot-fetish culture—incorporated numerous video elements as well as rotoscopes, motorized mannequins, and theatrical lighting. Atlas is the recipient of three Bessie (New York Dance and Performance) Awards. His feature-length film "Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance" won the Best Documentary Award at Dance Screen 2000 in Monaco. His work has been shown at international institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Atlas acted as Consulting Director for "Art in the Twenty-First Century" (Seasons 2 through 5), creating the original opening programs for each hour-long segment of Season 2, as well as supervising the “Stories,” “Loss and Desire,” “Memory,” “Play,” “Protest,” and “Paradox” episodes. Charles Atlas lives and works in New York City and Paris.
MSHR is the art collective of Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy. The duo builds and explores systems to reveal pathways toward ecstatic sensory experience. They work at the intersection of digital sculpture, analog circuitry and ceremonial performance. Their physical projects have largely revolved around analog light-audio feedback systems built from macro-arrangements of their sculptural synthesizers. On the virtual side, they weave computer generated portraits of inter-dimensional entities and psychedelic realms. These physical and virtual pursuits inform each other deeply, unfolding a hyper-shape that houses both. MSHR emerged from the 5 person art collective Oregon Painting Society in 2011. They were 2014 artists in residence at Eyebeam and are currently in residence at Pioneer Works.
LoVid's work includes immersive installations, sculptural synthesizers, single channel videos, textile, participatory projects, mobile media cinema, works on paper, and A/V performance. Collaborating since 2001, LoVid’s projects have been presented at SPRING/BREAK Art Show (NY), Daejeon Museum (Korea), Everson Museum (NY), Smack Mellon (NY), Mixed Greens Gallery (NY), CAM Raleigh (NC), Netherland Media Art Institute (Netherlands), The Science Gallery (Ireland), Real Art Ways (CT), Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem (Israel), Urbis, (UK), The Jewish Museum (NY), The Neuberger Museum (NY), The New Museum (NY), and ICA (London), among many others. LoVid has performed and presented works at: Museum of Moving Image (NY), Lampo (Chicago), International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands), MoMA (NY), PS1 (NY), The Kitchen (NY), CCA (Israel), and FACT (Liverpool). LoVid’s projects have received support from organizations including: The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Graham Foundation, Signal Culture, Cue Art Foundation, Eyebeam, Harvestworks, Wave Farm, Rhizome, Franklin Furnace, Turbulence.org, New York Foundation for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, Experimental TV Center, NY State Council of the Arts, and Greenwall Foundation. LoVid's videos are distributed by EAI.
Lucinda Childs began her career at the Judson Dance Theater In New York in 1963. Since forming her dance company in 1973, she has created over fifty works, both solo and ensemble. In 1976 she was featured in the landmark avant-garde opera Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, for which she won an Obie Award and she subsequently appeared in a number of Wilson’s productions which include, I Was Sitting on my Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating, Quartett, by Heiner Muller, Wilson and Glass’s opera White Raven, Wilson’s video project Video 50, Maladie de la Mort by Marguerite Duras opposite Michel Piccoli. Most recently she also appeared in Wilson’s production of Arvo Part’s Adams Lament, and also collaborated on the movements and spoken text for Letter to a Man, based on Nijinsky’s diaries and performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 1979 Childs choreographed one of her most enduring works, Dance with music by Philip Glass and film décor by Sol LeWitt, which continues to tour internationally and has been added to the repertory of the Lyon Opera Ballet where she has recently choreographed Beethoven’s Grande Fugue. In 2015 she revived Available Light, created in 1983 with music by John Adams and a split-level set by architect Frank Gehry which was presented last year at the Festival d’Autumne. This fall the Thaddeus Ropac Gallery in Pantin will present her choreographic scores in an exhibit titled “Nothing Personal” in collaboration with the Centre Nationale de la Danse where she has donated her archive. Since 1981 she has choreographed over thirty works for major ballet companies which include Paris Opera Ballet and Les Ballet de Monte Carlo. In the past twenty years she has directed and choreographed a number of contemporary and eighteenth-century operas which include Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the Los Angeles Opera, Mozart’s Zaide for La Monnaie in Brussels, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol et Oedipe, Vivaldi’s Farnace, and Handel’s Alessandro, and John Adams Dr. Atomic for the Opera du Rhin. Her new production of Jean Baptiste Lully’s Atys premiered in Oper Kiel in 2014 and her production of Jean-Marie Leclaire’s Scylla and Glaucus will premiere there in 2017. Following her company’s season at the Joyce Theater in New York her next project will be a full length work titled Distant Figure, choreographed in collaboration with Philip Glass and Robert Wilson which is currently in development and to premiere in 2017. Childs is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. She holds the rank of Commander in France’s Order of Arts and Letters.
Lee Ranaldo co-founded Sonic Youth in 1981, and has been active from New York for the past 35 years, recording, performing, collaborating with numerous others, producing discs, exhibiting visual art and publishing volumes of poetry and journals. He has performed with partner Leah Singer throughout the world. His recently completed new album, Electric Trim, is out for release. He is music producer for HBO’s VINYL series. His Hurricane Transcriptions (based on wind recordings made during Hurricane Sandy in NYC in 2012), originally written for Berlin’s Kaleidoscop String Ensemble, was recently reduced for performances with Brooklyn’s Dither Electric Guitar Quartet. Recent live performances with Singer, Contre Jour, have been large scale, multi projection sound+light events with suspended electric guitar phenomena that challenge the usual performer/audience relationship via in-the- round staging.
Stephan Moore is a composer, improviser, audio artist, sound designer, teacher, and curator based in Chicago. His creative work currently manifests as electronic studio compositions, solo and group improvisations, sound installation works, scores for collaborative performance pieces, and sound designs for unusual circumstances. Evidence, his long-standing project with Scott Smallwood, has performed widely and released several recordings over the past 15 years. He is the president of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology, and is a member of The Nerve Tank, a canary torsi, Composers Inside Electronics, and the Wingspace Theatrical Collective. He toured for several years as a musician with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and has worked with artists as diverse as Pauline Oliveros, Anthony McCall, and Animal Collective. He is a lecturer in Sound Art and Sound Design in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Northwestern University.
Leila Bordreuil is a Brooklyn-based cellist and composer from France. Her cello playing is often improvised, and focuses on the relationship between the human body and the inherent sonic qualities of her instrument. Essential to her musical aesthetic is the expression of humans’ neuro-somatic imperfections, which she chooses to magnify through extreme amplification of very quiet playing, revealing microscopic gestures that are otherwise inaudible to the human ear. Her composed works draw from a similar aesthetic but also focus on sound through space and the distortion that arises from spatially organized sound sources. Leila’s collaborative projects include duos with Michael Foster and Tamio Shiraishi, a trio with Sean Ali and Joanna Mattrey, and the no-wave band “Signal Break” with Austin Jullian (Sediment Club) and Evin Huguenin (Sects). She has performed at the Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, The Stone, MoMA PS1, Roulette, the Performa Biennale, Ftarri (Tokyo, JP), the Heresy Series for Women in Sound (Manila, PHL), and many basements across the U.S.
David Lang is an American composer living in New York City. In the words of The New Yorker, “With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.” Lang’s score for Paolo Sorrentino’s film YOUTH received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, among others. Other recent work includes the opera the loser, which opened the 2016 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and for which Lang served as librettist, composer and stage director; man made, a concerto for So Percussion and orchestra, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony; his opera anatomy theater, written in collaboration with visual artist Mark Dion, at Los Angeles Opera; and the whisper opera for International Contemporary Ensemble, which premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Lang is a Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music and is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York's legendary music festival Bang on a Can.
Sophia Ogielska is a visual artist and designer. In the 1990s she has been involved with Experiments in Art and Technology, which culminated in her collaboration with David Tudor. They have developed a project to combine Sophia’s methods of visual synthesis of complex structures in her paintings with David’s way of composing and performing his music. Their project produced Toneburst Maps and Fragments, a series of colorful translucent works and larger panels, which could act as a visual representation of David’s music. The inaugural exhibition and performance of Toneburst Maps and Fragments took place in Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University in 1996. Sophia graduated from School of Arts, and holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and Economics.
David Tudor (1926-1996) was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1926. He studied with H. William Hawke (organ, theory), Irma Wolpe Rademacher (piano) and Stephan Wolpe (composition and analysis).His first professional activity was as an organist, and he subsequently became known as one of the leading avant-garde pianists of our time. Tudor gave highly acclaimed first or early performances of works by contemporary composers Earle Brown, Sylvano Bussotti, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff, Stephan Wolpe, and La Monte Young, among others. Tudor began working with John Cage in the early fifties, as a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and with Cage's Project of Music for Electronic Tape. Tudor gradually ended his active career as a pianist, turning exclusively to the composition of live electronic music. As a composer, Tudor chose specific electronic components and their interconnections to define both composition and performance drawing upon resources that were both flexible and complex. Tudor was one of four Core Artists who collaborated on the design of the Pepsi Pavilion for Expo '70, Osaka, Japan, a project of Experiments in Art and Technology, Inc. Many of Tudor's compositions have involved collaborative visual forces: light systems, laser projections, dance, theater, television, film. Tudor's last project, Toneburst: Maps and Fragments, was a collaboration with visual artist Sophia Ogielska. Tudor's several collaborations with visual artist Jacqueline Monnier included the development of a kite environment installed at the Whitney Museum (Philip Morris, NYC) in 1986, at the exhibition "Klangraume" in Dusseldorf in 1988, and at the Jack Tilton Gallery in New York City in 1990. Other collaborators have included Lowell Cross, Molly Davies, Viola Farber, Anthony Martin, and Robert Rauschenberg. Tudor had been affiliated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) since its inception in the summer of 1953. In 1992, after Cage’s death, Tudor took over as Music Director of MCDC. Merce Cunningham has commissioned numerous works from Tudor, including Rainforest I (1968); Toneburst (1974); Weatherings (1978); Phonemes (1981); Sextet for Seven (1982); Fragments (1984); Webwork (1987), Five Stone Wind (1988), Virtual Focus (1990); Neural Network Plus (1992); and most recently Soundings: Ocean Diary (1994) for what was John Cage's last conception, Ocean. David Tudor passed away on August 13, 1996 at his home in Tomkins Cove, NY.
John Cage (1912-1992) was a singularly inventive, highly influential, and much beloved American composer, writer, philosopher, and visual artist. Beginning around 1950, and throughout the passing years, he departed from the pragmatism of precise musical notation and circumscribed ways of performance. His principal contribution to the history of music is his systematic establishment of the principle of indeterminacy: by adapting Zen Buddhist practices to composition and performance, Cage succeeded in bringing both authentic spiritual ideas and a liberating attitude of play to the enterprise of Western art. His aesthetic of chance produced a unique body of what might be called "once-only" works, any two performances of which can never be quite the same. In an effort to reduce the subjective element in composition, he developed methods of selecting the components of his pieces by chance, early on through the tossing of coins or dice and later through the use of random number generators on the computer, and especially IC (1984), designed and written in the C language by Cage's programmer-assistant, Andrew Culver, to simulate the coin oracle of the I Ching. Cage’s use of the computer was creative and procedural, and resulted in a system of what can easily be seen as total serialism, in which all elements pertaining to pitch, noise, duration, relative loudness, tempi, harmony, etc., could be determined by referring to previously drawn correlated charts. Thus, Cage's mature works did not originate in psychology, motive, drama, or literature, but, rather, were just sounds, free of judgments about whether they are musical or not, free of fixed relations, free of memory and taste. His most enduring, indeed notorious, composition, influenced by Robert Rauschenberg's all-black and all-white paintings, is the radically tacet 4'33" (1952). Encouraging the ultimate freedom in musical expression, the three movements of 4'33" are indicated by the pianist's opening and closing of the piano key cover, during which no sounds are intentionally produced. It was first performed by the extraordinarily gifted pianist and long-time Cage associate, David Tudor, at Maverick Hall in Woodstock, N.Y., on Aug. 29, 1952.